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His whole life has been mapped out for him…
Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. He lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family attending an elite international school. A rule follower, Carlos is happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.
When his older brother, Felix—who dropped out of college to live a life of travel—is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother’s voice pushing him to rebel against his father’s plan for him. Worrying about his mental health but knowing Felix is right, Carlos runs away to the United States and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss’s daughter—a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what is most important to him and where his true path really lies.
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He's now back in Mexico City, where he writes, coaches basketball, and makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. His books include Let's Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and North of Happy. Visit Adi online at www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"North of Happy" is a touching YA book about exploring your passions and recovering after tragedy. Carlos was in high school when his brother Felix took him on a quest to find the best taco where they lived in Mexico City. On the way, Felix was caught in some crossfire and killed. Carlos has felt like half a person since it happened and has been seeing Felix wherever he looks. Felix had left home and explored the world, visiting some of the restaurants they saw on Food Network shows. Carlos is following the path their parents had laid out for them, planning an internship at his father's company, college in the US, and then working at his dad's company. When Carlos sees a restaurant that was on his brother's to-visit list, he decides to take a flight out and try it himself, with the ghost of Felix accompanying. As he tries the food and meets the hostess, Carlos realizes there is more he needed from this journey and accepts a job washing dishes, pushing his intended short visit into something longer. This is really a book of recovering from grief, coming-of-age, and discovering who you are. Carlos has a difficult road ahead of him, and Alsaid has captured this beautifully. The tone is coated in the sadness that Carlos has felt, and we feel his pain and self-discoveries through the story. This was not an easy read, but so so worth it. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through a giveaway. All opinions are my own.
I loved Alsaid's first book Let's Get Lost, but DNF'd his second, Never Always Sometimes, so I was interested to see where this third book fell. Fortunately, I loved it. It's a story about grief, family, and lots and lots of food. I always seem to enjoy food/restaurant based books, and this one did not disappoint. Warning: you will probably be very hungry during the reading of this book. Pros: I loved that this was a YA with a non-American protag. It was so very interesting to see through the lens of privilege of someone not living in America, and how that looks to the rest of the world. Did I mention the food? I loved getting a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of a restaurant and how one actually starts from the bottom to work their way up. I also loved the chapter headings, and I'm pretty sure some of the descriptions made me actually drool. Carlos is still grieving the death of his brother. Grief can be a very hard subject to tackle, and I think the author did a good job. Grief will look different for everyone, and I appreciate the author showcasing that. Cons: Our love interest was very one-dimensional. She seemed very much like your manic-pixie-dream-girl and I wish we could have gotten some more depth and character out of her. I didn't feel as if the parental relationships were fleshed out well enough, both for Carlos and Emma. We know that Carlos and his dad have issues, but not getting to see much of his relationship with his parents made it hard to empathize/understand. Same for Emma; we know she and her parents don't get along the best, but the relationships were never as fleshed out as they could be. The plot itself fell a little flat, for me. This book was still very fun and cute. I'm not sure if felt as deep to me as maybe the author meant it, but it was still a very enjoyable read.
This book beautifully puts into words so many honest, relatable life moments. The protagonist Carlos has lost his older brother, and his grieving process is handled in a way that is both devastating and funny, and always compassionate. As a former waiter, I also loved how spot-on this was in its portrayal of restaurant life.